“U.S. Race Relations Have Finally Reached The Point Where They Make No Sense Whatsoever” Sunday #2: The Ol’ Miss Banana Peel Saga

Honestly, I thought this was a hoax story. I still hope it might be, and if it isn’t, it should be. If it is true, the episode all by itself is signature significance proving that the U.S. race problem has turned into cultural insanity.

Last weekend, leaders from the University of Mississippi’s Greek Life group held  a three-day at Camp Hopewell in Lafayette County, designed to “build leaders and bring the campus closer together.” It went spectacular wrong as a result of a banana peel. It really did.

The group included student members of the Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council. The retreat was organized by Fraternity and Sorority Life and the national group IMPACT,  a campus-based leadership institute designed to foster improved relationships among campus leaders through such events. Saturday morning, the participants ate breakfast together, and the breakfast options included various fruit, including bananas. Breakfast was followed by a discussion session on race relations at Ole Miss.

Shortly thereafter, three students noticed a banana peel in a tree. This was taken as intentional racist symbolism. and the rest of the day was occupied by heated debate regarded racist symbols. Senior accounting major Ryan Swanson eventually stood up and admitted that he put the banana peel in the tree when he could not find a trash receptacle nearby.

[Aside: I once did exactly the same thing on a Boy Scout hike.]

Never mind. It didn’t matter that this was not a racist act. The banana peel continued to be the focus of intense debate.  Like a good social justice patsy, Swanson fell on his sword. “I want to sincerely apologize for the events that took place this past weekend,” Swanson told the college paper afterwards. “Although unintentional, there is no excuse for the pain that was caused to members of our community.”

There is no excuse for engaging in a completely innocent act as long as someone finds a reason, however contrived, to take offense at it. Yes, this is what we are teaching our young  at institutions of higher learning.

Because of the vile banana peel and the resulting discussion, the retreat fell apart. The discussion of the episode “took an unhealthy direction”—they are lucky I wasn’t there—and students began leaving, “some in tears, some in frustration.”  The remainder of the retreat was canceled. “At that point, we didn’t feel welcome; we didn’t feel safe,” one black student said. “If we didn’t feel wanted or safe at the camp, our best option was to leave.”

Katrina Caldwell, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement, now says her office was asked to put a plan together to respond to the incident  campus-wide.


1.African American students are being acculturated to actively seek reasons to see racism and hostility where there is none. This isn’t education. It is a process that is crippling young adults and making them paranoid, suspicious, and infantile.

2. A student tossed a banana peel in a tree (if you throw it on the ground, people slip on it, you know) and hypersensitive African American students immediately took it as a racist symbol, and even after this was revealed to be a ridiculous misunderstanding, the effort by the students to claim victim standing not only continued, but was encouraged. Now the entire campus is going to create some kind of sensitivity event around a hysterical over-reaction to what everyone agrees was a mistake.

No wonder college students don’t learn anything.


3. Said the hapless student who put the peel in the tree: “We must all keep in mind how our actions affect those around us differently.”

No, we must not. As this idiotic story proves, you can’t predict how ultra-sensitive, political-correctness addled, victim-mongering opportunists will  react to anything, literally anything. They will work overtime, considering every possible angle,  to place you on the defensive and make you grovel for forgiveness for a word, a look, an opinion, a joke, a gesture, a choice of fruit. Anything can be called a microaggression, and to respond as I would (and have, when seminar participants occasionally play political correctness “gotcha!” with my ethics seminars), “I’m sorry that you are taking offense at something that was neither intended to mean what you are claiming or can reasonably be argued to mean what you are claiming, but it is your problem, not mine. Serious discourse is impossible with such hair-trigger sensitivities, and I will not cater to it. Moving on…” will only lead to an escalation of the power games.

To censor ourselves according to what the most easily upset, offended, alarmed or inflamed individual might think or feel means paralysis, and constant terror of action or expression. This is oppression. This is intolerable.

4. Human beings can only co-exist productively if they give everyone the presumption of good will and beneficent intent. Today’s young African Americans are being taught to do exactly the opposite. Meanwhile, conduct like that exhibited by the African American students reasonably leads to a presumption by others that they assume the worst about their white colleagues.

5. If the University of Mississippi wants to have a productive and positive outcome from this fiasco, it would hold a campus wide program that sent the message, “Grow up. If you spend your life “feeling unsafe” at the drop of banana peel, you will be weak, useless, a burden on everyone you encounter.”

6. I do not think this will be the thrust of the program, however.

7. Rod Dreher at the American Conservative was properly apoplectic:

“This idiot country is losing its damn mind. Our universities are training students to be total neurotics. If you are an actual adult who wails and gnashes her teeth at the sight of a banana peel, you ought to question whether you are mature enough for college. And if you are an actual adult who lacks the spine to tell students who freak out over banana peels to grow up, you ought to question whether you might be Stuart Smalley.”

8. Finally, I will point out, as I do often, that such a reaction as Dreher’s should not be confined to conservatives or conservative publications. This mindset that generates this kind of reaction to trivia is objectively tragic and absurd, and it will not improve until the left side of the spectrum says, “Enough.”


Pointer: Charisma News

36 thoughts on ““U.S. Race Relations Have Finally Reached The Point Where They Make No Sense Whatsoever” Sunday #2: The Ol’ Miss Banana Peel Saga

    • Well bananas aren’t native to America, just like black people, and since it was a banana skin that’s like a dead banana, coupled with being in a tree makes it an obvious hanging reference! So it’s a thinly-veiled threat that the blacks at the event deserve to be hung.

      (I’m kidding, I have no idea either)

      • According to a National Review article I read (I can’t find it right now), at American University several months ago someone hung banana peels from nooses in trees the same day that a student from a historically black sorority was set to receive some sort of honours (I really have to find that article again), so there’s a precedent, at least.

    • According to the article in the Blaze, Another sorority president reportedly told the newspaper that the incident was especially painful, because “bananas have historically been used to demean black people.” There had also been an incident at American University in May of this year where bananas were hung in trees after a black woman became student government president for the first time.

      Sixty years ago tomorrow, a heroine of the civil rights movement, Elizabeth Eckford one of the Little Rock Nine faced real threats and hatred not bananas when she attempted to attend Little Rock Central High School. She did not retreat to her safe space. She was clearly made of sterner stuff.

    • Yes, you do understand the (non)-reference, Zoltar, Thomas W, Turtle Guy and Jack. It’s a “monkey” reference. It’s fresh in my mind because of another insane example that came up last year during a committee meeting deciding on a brunch menu for volunteers. No watermelon; no bananas. All safe. The “insane” part was that, out of nearly two hundred volunteers, there were many of Asian and Hispanic ancestry, but not a single one claiming Black. One for the PC-in-Absentia files.

    • Alizia, you have hit on the explanation. Monkeys eat bananas, thus the banana peel in a tree was actually calling the black students monkeys, an early 1900’s sobriquet. Unfortunately, it persisted into the ’60s.

      • dragin_dragon wrote, “Monkeys eat bananas, thus the banana peel in a tree was actually calling the black students monkeys, an early 1900’s sobriquet. Unfortunately, it persisted into the ’60s.”

        Persisted into the 60’s? What?

        I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in areas that were ripe, RIPE I say, with loads of in-your-face racism and I never ever heard even one reference to putting banana peels in trees means that blacks are monkeys in fact I’ve never heard of putting banana peels in trees ever for any reason.

        Generally speaking, Monkeys eat a lot of things; if this banana peel in a tree is calling blacks monkeys then what about putting other dietary items that monkeys eat in a tree too, do those all mean your calling blacks monkeys? Monkeys throw their shit at each other, how can racists use that monkey action to call blacks monkeys? When monkeys drink water they don’t lap it up with their tongue like other animals they cup their hands or make vessels with other objects to drink their water; what’s next drinking water from a glass is calling blacks monkeys?

        I’m sorry folks; these kind of loosely connected implied racists references are over the top self-centered bull shit! What’s next on the bull shit race baiting list?

  1. Well, I guess they’ll never serve banana splits on campus anywhere for fear some one might freak out and run to their safe space or be offended. Watermelon, chicken (fried or otherwise), tamales, and other things will also definitely be off the menu. “Social Justice” has again triumphed over common sense.

  2. I assume catfish and watermelon and collard greens and fried chicken and sweet potatoes and chilins will be off the menu at Alabama dining halls, as well as bananas. Who knows, maybe they already are. Cultural appropriation!

    The reason the media don’t object to this stuff is they’re all young and look a lot of -studies courses before they graduated and got jobs at newspapers and TV stations. It makes perfect sense to them.

  3. My mother-in-law is a particularly clingy and sensitive person. The wrong look or poorly-worded phrase often makes her think someone is angry at her.

    A few years ago, there was a misunderstanding when she thought we were taking her to an event to which we’d not firmly committed. After that was cleared up, my husband made the mistake of making a comment on Facebook to someone else that led her to believe that we were actually doing the thing she wanted to do…but without her (she has a long history of thinking we have to take her with us wherever we go). She sent him a cross email accusing him of blowing off taking her to the event while making plans to go ourselves.

    My husband explained to her in reply email that we were not doing that thing- with or without her. He also included the following, “Whether on Facebook or in the real world, there are going to be times in which we have discussions about topics or events that have nothing to do with you. It’s very difficult to get excited about sharing the details of our lives with you if you insist upon getting upset every time.”

    Over the last few months of watching increasingly hysterical groups of people looking for ways to find offense, I really kind of wish someone would respond the same way he did to her. Not everything that happens in this world is about African-Americans (or gays or women or poor people…). And a large segment of our population is growing jaundiced about having a real dialogue about genuine issues when having to filter through nonsense like the above.

  4. CS Lewis called it:

    “The Chest – Magnanimity – Sentiment – these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal.

    The operation of The Green Book [a book promoting relativism] and its kind is to produce what may be called Men without Chests. It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken as Intellectuals. This gives them the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks Intelligence. It is not so.

    They are not distinguished from other men by any unusual skill in finding truth nor any virginal ardour to pursue her. Indeed it would be strange if they were: a persevering devotion to truth, a nice sense of intellectual honour, cannot be long maintained without the aid of a sentiment… It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so.

    And all the time – such is the tragi-comedy of our situation – we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more “drive,” or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or “creativity.” In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function.

    We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

  5. “It went spectacular wrong as a result of a banana peel.”

    The slippery slope….

    Dreher: “Our universities are training students to be total neurotics. ”

    I don’t think that this is correct. I don’t think that emotions that it is claimed are triggered by this sort of stuff are real. I think that the training is in aggressive and passive aggressive bullying, and that it should be dealt with on those terms.

    • The Leftist opposition to vouchers is the ultimate example of the devil overplaying his hand. “Black people getting a classical education at a good school? But then they’ll stop being poor and won’t need us! How can we convince those negroes that they don’t actually want this?”

  6. I always heard banana was a slang term for Asians who were part white or ‘acted’ white as in – “he’s yellow on the outside & white inside.”

    • Howard. Rest his toupeed soul.

      I was just remembering the time the kid at the Rangers game Howard was doing kept whispering things into the baseline microphone like “The whole state of Texas hates your guts, Howard.” Pretty funny.

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